Sunday, 18 October 2015

现实 | Open day season

Posted by: Ryan O'Riordan

It's probably not a coincidence that no-one in the long history of the written word has (at least as far as I know) written anything that goes something like:

'...as exciting as a university open day!'

As a simile, it leaves quite a bit to be desired. My main complaint after reading such a comparison would be that university open days aren't actually that exciting. Not after you've been to at least one anyway.

I realise that to even be in the position of considering going to university is a huge privilege, and the last thing I want is for this post to come off as self-congratulatory in a deprecating way. We all know (and probably hate) someone who can not only never resist bringing up their achievements constantly, but they have to do it in the most annoying way possible.

A: "So, how's the uni application process treating you?"
B: "Oh you know, it's just so difficult isn't it? I've got the grades to get into so many wonderful places, picking a favourite is really difficult"
A: "Uhhh, Ok. How's your personal statement going?"
B: "It's a real challenge, I'm definitely glad I started a preliminary draft of my first draft before we broke up for summer holidays. It's not made easier by all the extra-curricular stuff I've been doing lately..."

And on it would go. It's fine to be proud of what you've done, but at least stand up and brag properly if you're going to brag.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Like quite a few people my age, over the past few months I've had to go to open days for the various universities I'm thinking of applying to. It's not the travelling around the country that I mind, it's that all the open days I've visited have been kind of the same.

Your average open day goes a little bit like this: There's the boring journey, followed by the signing in bit, followed by the entrance "wow isn't this a lovely campus" bit, followed by the subject talk bit, followed by the looking at accommodation bit and then the going home bit.

It's a captivating day out for everyone involved.

I understand it's important to look before you leap, so to speak, but the romance of heading off to university is spoiled a little bit for me by these days. There's nothing quite like having your potential home for the next three years referred to as "alright I guess" by dear old mum and dad, is there? And they're all so similar! You've seen one student flat, you've seen them all. A particular highlight on my latest open day was looking into someone's room and seeing they had not one but three snapbacks on their bedside table. Three! Like a set of nesting Russian dolls made from cheeky nights out and massive deep house bangers. And that's not all! The absolutely mental lad had only gone and left a big bottle of Smirnoff on his desk! Honestly, that room was a shrine to banter. looking over the threshold was like gazing through a window into an alternate dimension; a dimension where you're always en route to Nando's, for a post-gym chicken sesh with the boys.

The subject talks are almost always the same as well. No matter what university you go to, they'll manage to pull up some stat to show how brilliant their department is. They're in the top 3% globally for student satisfaction with the carpet colour, or they're 1 of only 5 universities in the UK to have a lecturer who has released a Shakespeare-themed rap album. I'm enthusiastic about the subject I want to study at university, but there's only so many identical course structures I can take notes on before I decide to give up entirely and commit myself to finding the faces of celebrities in my toast or something equally useless, like a classics degree. WAHEY!

Sorry classics students out there, but I want to study English Literature so I need to take what I can get.

Maybe I'm just weird, but there's a certain appeal to me in just turning up to a university on your first day and taking it all in properly for the first time. I know that's stupid and something to be avoided for various reasons, but I suppose I'm a hopeless romantic at heart.

I'm definitely excited at the idea of going to university and the prospect of never seeing school ever again starting a new chapter in life. It's just that my overriding feeling right now is a desire to never have to go to another university open day ever again.

But you know what is a good university? Birmingham. Overall they have a 94% graduate employment rate and what more can you ask for really? They also have really great accommodation and...


Ryan's listening to: 'Thank You' by All Tvvins (and yes that is how you spell their name)



Read my previous post here.

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